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Posted: 10/25/2004 7:55:27 AM EDT
Is there a need to have liability insurance for property purchased in this state?

(Say, I own a chunk of undevelopped land. Some bozo tresspasses on the land and gets hurt, can I be sued?)
Link Posted: 10/25/2004 4:02:56 PM EDT
Only if you want to protect your ass(ets)
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 12:38:08 PM EDT
Talk to you insurance agent, of course, but I think you'd be covered by a personal liability umbrella policy in the situation you described. This policy rides on top of your homeowners and car insurance (really helps if you have the same company for everything of course) and covers basically every liability situation not covered by those two policies. The umbrella policy also increases your coverage on homeowners/car to a higher level (typically $1M-$2M). My umbrella policy with a major insurance carrier runs ~$100/year (I had to bump up my homeowners and car coverages, though, which costs an extra ~$50/year) and covers up to $2M.

My understanding is that an umbrella policy would cover everything from a negligence suit, slander, civil liabilty (think OJ), etc. We all know of people who will sue you for slipping on the ice while trespassing on your property (or many other scenarios), so this seemed like a wise move to me (or anyone's who would be a good target for suits - i.e. not broke). I've been told that you can only be sued for your net worth in Virginia. Therefore, if your net worth is only $500K you do not need $2M of insurance (in spite of the fact an agent may try to sell it to you). I'm not sure about this, but do some research. Good luck!

Black Fox
Link Posted: 10/27/2004 8:40:05 AM EDT

As well as the insurance rider...post your property w/ "no trespassing" signs. This will give you some added protection in the event some moron gets hurt and tries to sue you. In general..you are not required by law to make any undeveloped property you own safe for access by the general public. On the other end of the spectrum...if you have problems with trespassers, you can't set bear traps, claymore mines, etc. to prevent access by unauthorized persons. Also be aware if you decide to create your own personal shooting range on that property you are responsible for the actions of any "invited guests" using that range. For example...You invite a bunch of friends down for an afternoon of shooting. You get together at the house and down a few brews. You get down to the range and one of your friends seems to be a little unsteady on his feet. This guy decides to check his firearm while everyone else is down range. Ooops..the gun was loaded and he shoots another guest. You will likely be found responsible for any injuries caused by this individual. I'm not trying to discourage you..just be aware that one of the largest sources of second income in this country are "tort" cases (personal law suits). Remember...forewarned is forearmed!
Link Posted: 10/27/2004 6:36:23 PM EDT
Besides posting the property (post signs and use the purple paint on trees), think about placing it under a LLC for "future" development. It will help protect your personal assets from a lawsuit. A LLC isn't foolproof, but is one more legal barrier for your protection in litigation.
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